tv BBC World News America PBS December 8, 2016 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
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♪ welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. the united states may be complicit in atrocities in yemen. a leading human rights group level the accusation today based on american support for the saudi led air campaign. saudi arabia started bombing the country in march of last year when rebels backed by iran forced the country's president into exile. since then, more than 4000 civilians have been killed. we begin our coverage in yemen. >> they were in the mountains. farmers on their way to market. then, the jets came. 10 men were killed and a dozen wounded. when you cameee, out of the car? what did you see around you?
politically backs the coalition war. support that has become increasingly controversial. key infrastructure and hospitals. 50% of theths, casualties in the war were caused by saudi led coalition airstrikes. there have been numerous child victims. this 15-year-old was wounded six months ago by a cluster bomb. she lost her left leg at the hip. >> it is estimated that 50% of saudi combat jets are u.k. supplied.
like this typhoon flying over scotland. contracts, including those for bombs are worth billions of pounds. britain also supplies military advisers to saudi arabia. such country to country sales are legal but it is the civilian death toll and allegations of war crimes which make them in a human rights crisis for britain. local investigators, critical of all sides in this conflict, are demanding an international inquiry. ofthe financial interests u.k. and u.s. is much more important than the blood of the victims. >> you want an inquiry set up that would have binding results from everybody? >> yes. different parties wouldn't be able to say no, it isn't us, it is the other parties. yemen's war is fueled by a
wider regional struggle. these rebel fighters we met on their way to the front are backed by iran. from the saudi and british point of view, they are the guilty ones. human rights groups accuse them of serious abuses including killing civilians and sniper attacks. of their president national political counsel which is in result against the internationally recognized government. the british government is that you are not the legitimate government. our government is not legitimate. there was only one candidate. why do they support the opposition in syria against the legitimate government? they only talk about legitimacy when it suits them. >> the casualties of airstrikes continue to arrive in hospitals. -- is eight years old and has shrapnel in his head and legs.
>> his mother and 18-month-old brother were killed. they are part of the moral cost that britain is now being called on to confront. the saudi led forces meanwhile accuse the united nations of exaggerating the number of civilian casualties in yemen and insist they only strike military targets. saudi officials say they have their own security concerns about the border area between the two countries. from saudi arabia, here is frank gardner. out,: day in, day warplanes from a saudi led coalition are taking off for yetman -- four yemen. they're looking to restore it yemen's legitimate government ousted by iran backed rebels.
militaryll as hitting targets, they have been accused of killing hundreds or thousands of civilians. i went into their coalition headquarters to ask the saudi's how they choose their targets. map showed me a "no strike" which are sites that are off-limits to airstrikes but the chief airman also accuse them of hiding among civilians. >> when you conduct a war in such circumstances, like i told with thee they mix civilians, it is too difficult. mistakes can happen. and we do what is necessary to protect the civilians. we are here to protect civilians. that the u.n. estimates 60% of the casualties in yemen are caused by airstrikes? something is going wrong between the theory and the practice. it is not helpful to make a good decision.
i think this is the wrong number. we say 60% of the casualties in yemen are due to the airstrikes? to target troops in the fight and the line of contact, it doesn't reflect the number that is not mentioned. >> hundreds of miles away, down border. the saudi's took me under armed escort to the front lines. there, a general told me that there are gunmen who sneak across the border. >> there are militias and gangs. the targeting of civilians is against the rules. borderher back from the i was shown a house hit by a rocket from yemen the day before. inside in the home , it is broken.
he has his country. i am in my country. we are brothers. in islam. hair -- thatthat hit here was one of four. it is very close to the border with saudi arabia. the damage is miniscule compared to what is going on in yemen, there is no comparison. but it is a reminder that saudi arabia is at war and the war has come to the saudi citizens and it is a shock to them. ballistic missiles have also been coming across the border. as well as this russian-made gun borne by the rebels. this war is over 20 months old. the missiles and the airstrikes continue. and neither side seems prepared to back down. meanwhile, here in
washington, a democratic congressman has been one of the most outspoken critics of u.s. support for the saudi led airstrikes in yemen. he joined may short time ago from capitol hill. you have written to secretary kerry about the situation in yemen and you seem to be suggesting that the united states risks being complicit in war crimes that might be being committed? is that correct? >> thank you for that question. we absolutely are risking prosecution of united states personnel for committing war crimes in yemen. that is correct. under the international law, as well as the law of armed conflict, which i taught when i was on active duty in the air force, you can be liable if you aid and abet war crimes. and what we know is the saudi led coalition has dropped thousands of bombs, a third of which have hit civilians. there have been over 70 and thented airstrikes
u.s. is refueling these planes and providing the just a goal and other assistance. anchor: what would you like the u.s. to do? >> i would like them to stop assisting coalitions that have targeted women and children in yemen. and also to stop arms sales to yemen. anchor: that would risk a breach in the alliance. >> i don't have a philosophical objection for the united states as saudillies, such arabia. but i have a huge objection when the outlay is committing war crimes. themed to stop selling weapons that they would use on a population and weapons. it is causing a massive humanitarian crisis. the saudi army has told the bbc that they don't believe the numbers, the numbers of civilians being killed by airstrikes. they say the united states and
-- they say the united nations figure is far too high. do you think that is possible? a very easy to tell if a civilian is killed by an airstrike or by famine or by something else. and it is ludicrous for the saudi arabia and military coalition to deny the deaths of these civilians that are caused by weapons coming from the air. and we know that reporters on the ground, nonprofit groups, they have documented these airstrikes and there is no dispute that this saudi led funeraln targeted a that killed hundreds of civilians. they targeted schools. they targeted a doctors without borders hospital to kill patients. so these are actual deaths that have happened and it is ridiculous for a saudi general to deny it. you served in the air force and you understand airstrikes. is it possible for them to
pursue their war without so many civilians dying? these airstrikes were being carried out by united states marshals, they would be court-martialed. the fact that we are refueling jets that are then carrying out these airstrikes suggests to me that we are liable in the u.s. for aiding and abetting war crimes and the saudi military and their government is not capable of independently investigating their own attacks. that is why i called for an independent investigation of other entities to do these investigations. not the saudi military itself. anchor: thank you for joining me. relations with saudi arabia were in the news today because the often outspoken british accuser, boris johnson them of proxy wars. the prime minister's office says his views do not reflect the
u.k. position. his comments were made last week . >> you have the saudi's moving in and everyone puppeteering. and playing proxy wars. and it is a tragedy to watch it. anchor: what is boris johnson doing? foot ins putting his it, once again. something he has proved to be rather good at. the saudi relationship is perhaps the most sensitive one that there is, in terms of british foreign policy. we sell huge amounts of arms to the saudi's. if we then are going to criticize them, why do we arm them in the first place? it is uncomfortable, politically. he came to a forgotten the adage that a diplomat is an honest man who goes to board for his life for his country. makenk all the things that
boris johnson such a good journalist, which is how he started his career -- irreverent, with t plain speaking, great with the english language, that is what makes him a potentially dangerous politician. i remember when he got the job, a senior diplomat texted me and said, oh my goodness, what have they done. theresa may is thinking that boris johnson is brilliant in all sorts of ways but he causes trouble. the russian forest minister announced today that they have stop the attacks on east aleppo all there is no evidence of that on the ground. they said it is to allow for the evacuation of civilians trapped inside the battle zone. in recent weeks, they every taken more than three quarters of east aleppo, the area controlled by rebels over the past four years. we are in the government controlled part of aleppo tonight.
has the cease-fire stopped? is the fighting going on? we can talkhink about a cease-fire here on the ground. and we have seen and heard on the ground is that the operations by the syrian military and the russian and iranian allies appears to have eased but not to have completely stopped. and we've also seen tens of thousands of civilians fleeing, largely on their own to whatever groups they can find to escape from the battlefield and every route is fraught with risks. we saw today, family scrambling through what is essentially a hole in the wall. whatever you call them, cease-fires only work if they are agreed on i all sides and there is no sign of that. anchor: do a know how many more are still left and what condition those people are in? >> the numbers are very difficult to pin down. began threeses
weeks ago by the syrian military, it has said that there were between 250,000-275,000 people trapped in rebel held east of aleppo. as the syrian military advances and tens of thousands flee, the big question is, how many people are still trapped in the remaining districts under rebel control and in the line of fire? i happens beating to aid officials, just before he went on air and maybe the earlier figures were too high but we do know that there are tens of thousands still trapped and any in theis too high dangerous and dire conditions that exist now in east aleppo. anchor: thank you. you are watching bbc world news america. still to come, could to rafts be heading for extinction? a new warning that the population has a client rapidly
in a few decades. israel's parliament is taking steps to protect thousands of jewish homes built on private, palestinian land, drawing international criticism. the wedding of this 18-year-old is bittersweet for her family and guests. many are from where she has lived since she was a baby and wants to stay. there are 40 households here. they say god promised this land to the choose. the jewish. but they say they must be demolished. her father is outraged. the lives are going to be destroyed. they will be kicked out of their homes. because someone said that they can't prove it.
the supreme court never asked them to prove it. of a palestinian village, i get a very different perspective. forells me that generations, his family grew crops on their plot of land from the hilltop. it has been a long and legal battle to try to get it back. said that itourt was for the palestinian people and you must acquit this land in this time. >> and now, a majority of mps are backing the steps to make outposts legal under israeli law. these would protect about 4000 jewish homes in the occupied west bank. palestinians are worried that other settlements like this one will stay and more could follow. could enday that their hopes of a future of an independent state.
♪ the number of giraffes in the world has dropped so nowatically that it is classified as full a role to extinction. the leading conservation group says the population has decreased by almost 40%. the reasons include habitat loss , poaching and civil unrest. >> highly recognizable. these giraffes are loved by the visitors in their natural habitat. they are suffering a devastating decline. expandingnting and agriculture and civil unrest have been cited as factors pushing the longnecked mammals towards extinction. a regularly updated global speciesnt of animal
today upgraded their conservation status to vulnerable. >> it is an iconic series -- it creature and it is a bit of a wake-up call, to see such a widespread animal is verbal -- is vulnerable to extinction. >> they face an increasing threat to the bird species. parrot isn ga african grey vulnerable due to trapping. numbers of these birds have declined by as much as 99%. while the numbers make grim that theyt does hope will spark action. and hopefully people can still make space for the tallest mammal on earth. we keep getting reports
of animals in africa who are heading towards extinction and that is too bad. tributes are pouring in for john glenn, the american astronaut whose exploits in space were only matched by his popularity on earth. he died at the age of 95 today. was the first american to ever orbit the earth. he also enjoyed a long lyrical career. we look back on the amazing life. >> on february 20, 1962, john glenn began a journey that would make him one of america's greatest heroes. back then, there was only room for one in the spacecraft. mission control was in a cramped room. it was all so new. and astronauts were doing things for the very first time.
>> godspeed, john glenn. >> friendship seven took off to take pilots around>> godspeed, . the earth. he was not the first man in space or even the first american. his orbit was the moment that the americans finally caught up with the soviets in the space race. >> i feel fine. oh, that view is tremendous. >> his performance and fulfillment of this most dangerous assignment reflects the highest credit upon himself and the united states. we appreciate you. kennedyhat, president was grateful. john glenn was the embodiment of america's newfound supremacy. and now, it had found expression. in 1974, he was elected to the senate. and 10 years later he tried to become the democratic candidate
for president but failed. in 1998, he was still blazing a trail. age 77, he became the oldest person to go into space. >> i am a little round face today than that comes from the fluid body shift that occurs. and that is something that goes away over a couple of days. then you get back to normal again. >> he will be remembered for his courage and bravery in the early years of america's space program. a man they said had the right stuff. glenn: remembering john and when he first rocketed off into space, a fellow astronaut sent him a message -- "godspeed, john glenn." today, nasa sent him the same message i tweaking it out.
you can find out much more on the latest news. it is on the website. tune in again tomorrow. ♪ >> make sense of international news at bbc.com/news. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, newman's own foundation, giving all profits from newman's own to charity and pursuing the common good. kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and aruba tourism authority. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here, in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> sreenivasan: and i'm hari sreenivasan. >> woodruff: on the newshour tonight, president-elect trump makes more moves to set the stage for his administration. what his controversial pick to head the e.p.a. signals for the future of the environment. >> sreenivasan: also ahead this thursday, the populists of wall street: a look at trump's economic team and the future president's promises. >> woodruff: plus, the female frontline-- the first part in our series spotlighting the first generation of women training for the toughest combat positions. >> i want to advance my career and be in a place that feels like family, you know that they have your ba